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Permanent Account Number (PAN)

PAN, or Permanent Account Number, is a unique 10-character alphanumeric identifier issued by the Income Tax Department of India. It serves as a vital tool for tracking financial transactions and ensuring tax compliance.

Do you know what your PAN is and how it relates to your financial transactions and tax payments in India? If not, this comprehensive guide on PAN will provide clarity.

Obtaining a Permanent Account Number (PAN) has now been made mandatory by the Income Tax Department of India for all taxpayers. The PAN serves as a unique 10-digit alphanumeric identifier for tracking all tax-related activities of individuals and entities. So understanding what a PAN is, who requires it, and how to get one should be vital for tax compliance in India.

What is a Permanent Account Number (PAN)?

A Permanent Account Number (PAN) is a unique identifier used for tracking tax obligations and payments of individuals and businesses.

The Permanent Account Number is a 10-digit alphanumeric code issued by the Income Tax Department of India. This serves as a significant form of identification for Indian taxpayers when dealing with their tax affairs.

Some key features of the Permanent Account Number in India:

  • It is issued in the form of a physical PAN card as well as a digital document
  • PAN contains details about the taxpayer such as name, date of birth, and address as per the IT department’s records
  • It links to all the relevant tax details of the individual or business such as tax regimes, returns filed, taxes owed and paid etc.
  • Permanent Account Number serves to accurately track tax compliance across taxpayers
  • Having a PAN is essential for anyone who pays or has paid income tax
  • Mandatory for all TDS and TCS transactions above the threshold limit
  • Needed for financial transactions like opening a bank account, purchasing mutual funds or property etc.

In short, the Permanent Account Number is the primary identifier that links an individual to the tax system. The PAN serves as the physical and digital tax ID that facilitates the government in monitoring tax payments across taxpayers. It is essentially crucial for all tax compliance and financial transactions for individuals and businesses.

Who Needs a PAN in India?

In India, having a PAN (Permanent Account Number) is mandatory for various individuals and entities engaging in specific financial transactions. Here are the categories of individuals and entities that need a PAN:

Individuals Taxpayers

  • Income Taxpayers: Anyone who earns taxable income in India, including residents and non-residents, must obtain a PAN. It is required for filing income tax returns.
  • Salaried Individuals: Individuals who are salaried and fall under the taxable income bracket are required to have a PAN.
  • Business Owners: Proprietors, partners, and owners of businesses, regardless of their business structure (individual, Hindu Undivided Family, partnership, company, etc.), need a PAN.
  • Investors: Individuals engaging in financial transactions such as buying and selling securities, mutual funds, or real estate transactions above a specified limit require a PAN.
  • Banking Transactions: PAN is mandatory for opening a bank account, fixed deposit, or any other financial account.
  • Foreign Nationals: Foreign nationals who engage in economic activities in India and are liable to pay taxes also need a PAN.

Business Entities

  • Companies and Corporations: All registered companies and corporations operating in India must have a PAN.
  • Partnerships and LLPs: Partnerships, Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs), and similar entities must obtain a PAN.
  • Trusts and NGOs: Trusts, non-profit organizations, and NGOs are required to obtain a PAN.
  • Sole Proprietorships: Sole proprietors need a PAN for their business transactions.
  • Government Organizations: Government organizations and agencies engaged in economic activities, as well as those responsible for deducting or collecting taxes, need a PAN.
  • Foreign Entities: Foreign entities conducting business in India or making taxable transactions are required to obtain a PAN.

Thus, all Indian taxpayers like salaried individuals, freelancers, companies, LLPs, HUFs, NRIs etc. earning above the minimum threshold limit must apply for a Permanent Account Number for ease of compliance and to avoid penalties.

How to Apply for a PAN in India?

Obtaining a Permanent Account Number in India is vital for taxpayers and is now a quick and simple process with online and offline options.

Online Application

The easiest way for Indian residents to apply is through the e-filing portal of NSDL. Key steps include:

  • Visit protean-tinpan.com website.
  • Select the appropriate PAN application form
  • Fill in all mandatory personal and contact details
  • Verify identity and address proof documents
  • Upload scanned copies of documents
  • Make payment of fees online via net banking, credit card etc.

Physical Application

Taxpayers can also visit authorized PAN card centres run by NSDL to submit physical forms along with copies of KYC documents. The main steps are:

  • Download the application form from the portal or obtain it from the centre
  • Fill in all details and affix photographs
  • Attach self-attested photocopies of ID and address proof
  • Pay fees via demand draft or card payment at the centre

Documents Required

Essential KYC papers for Permanent Account Number application:

  • Identity proof – Aadhaar, passport, voter ID, driving license etc
  • Address proof – Aadhaar, passport, utility bills, rental agreement etc
  • Foreign nationals must submit additional proofs
  • Specified documents for registered business entities

Application is typically processed within 15-20 days and the PAN card is dispatched to the applicant’s address. Queries can be tracked online using the acknowledgement number.

Thus, obtaining PAN through the NSDL portal or authorized centres is now quick and seamless for Indian residents as well as foreign nationals and entities.

Importance of Linking PAN with Aadhaar

Linking Permanent Account Number with Aadhaar has now been made mandatory by the Income Tax Department of India.

Deadline for PAN-Aadhaar Linkage

The last date for linking PAN with an Aadhaar number was recently extended by the CBDT until March 31, 2023.

Failing to link one’s Permanent Account Number with the Aadhaar number by this deadline can lead to significant repercussions.

Consequences of Missing Deadline

If PAN and Aadhaar are not linked by March 31, 2023:

  • PAN shall become inoperative and cannot be quoted for key financial transactions
  • Filing IT returns using unmatched PAN will be impossible
  • Pending refunds cannot be processed
  • Levying higher TDS and penalties on transactions

To successfully link their Permanent Account Number with Aadhaar, taxpayers must:

  • Visit the Income Tax e-filing portal
  • Log in to the account
  • Select the Link Aadhaar option
  • Enter PAN and Aadhaar details exactly as per the records
  • Enter the OTP received on the registered mobile number
  • Click submit after previewing data to complete the linking process

Benefits of Linking

Key advantages of linking PAN with Aadhaar by the deadline:

  • Smoother return filing, refunds processing
  • Avoid higher TDS rates and penalties
  • Convenience in accessing details through a single UIDAI database

Therefore, to maximize compliance ease and prevent disputes, taxpayers must ensure their Permanent Account Number and Aadhaar are linked well before the March 2023 deadline.

Understanding Key Difference Between PAN, TAN, and TIN

In India, PAN (Permanent Account Number), TAN (Tax Deduction and Collection Account Number), and TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number) are distinct identification numbers used for various taxation purposes. Let’s understand each of them:

PAN (Permanent Account Number)

  • Purpose: PAN is a unique 10-character alphanumeric identifier issued by the Income Tax Department of India. It is used to track financial transactions and is mandatory for various financial activities.
  • Application: Individuals, companies, and entities that are required to pay income tax must apply for a PAN. It is commonly used for filing income tax returns, opening bank accounts, and engaging in high-value financial transactions.

TAN (Tax Deduction and Collection Account Number)

  • Purpose: TAN is a 10-digit alphanumeric number assigned to entities responsible for deducting or collecting tax at source on behalf of the Income Tax Department.
  • Application: Any person or entity making specified payments like salaries, contractor payments, or payments to professionals is required to obtain a TAN. It is crucial for TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) compliance.

TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number)

  • Purpose: TIN is a unique number assigned to identify taxpayers, typically for sales tax or VAT (Value Added Tax) purposes. However, the concept of TIN has been largely replaced by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) system in India.
  • Application: Previously, businesses were required to obtain a TIN for state-level registration under the VAT system. With the introduction of GST, businesses now need to register under GST and obtain a GSTIN (Goods and Services Tax Identification Number).

Make sure to use the correct identification number based on the specific taxation requirement. If you have any confusion or need assistance, it’s advisable to consult with a tax professional or the relevant tax authorities.

Conclusion

In summary, a Permanent Account Number (PAN) serves as the primary tax ID for all Indian income taxpayers. Whether an individual earning taxable income, an NRI with assets in India, or entities like companies or LLPs- obtaining a PAN is vital for smooth compliance and financial transactions.

From how to apply online or offline to why linking it to Aadhaar is now compulsory, this guide covers everything Indian taxpayers need to know about Permanent Account Numbers. Having an updated PAN like the PAN helps taxpayers easily file returns, and claim refunds and prevents disputes. So apply for one if not already obtained and link it to the Aadhaar by the deadline for continued convenience.

Common Questions/Concerns About PAN

Many Indian taxpayers have queries regarding the application process and usage of their Permanent Account Number. Some common PAN-related questions are:

Is a PAN Card Mandatory?

Yes, a Permanent Account Number is mandatory for all Indian residents and foreign nationals earning taxable income exceeding exemption limits. It must be quoted for tax payments, returns and high-value transactions.

Can an Individual Have More Than One PAN?

No, it is illegal for any person to possess more than one Permanent Account Number. Applying for a second PAN can attract penalties up to Rs 10,000.

How Can NRIs Obtain or Retain Their PAN?

A PAN obtained as an Indian resident will remain valid even if the taxpayer’s status changes to a non-resident. NRIs earning taxable income in India should apply for a Permanent Account Number. They can do so while visiting India or by applying through the Indian Embassy.

Is PAN Mandatory for Bank Accounts?

Yes, all bank account holders must provide their Permanent Account Number as it allows banks to deduct TDS and report transactions to tax authorities. So having a Permanent Account Number is essential for opening new bank accounts or operating existing ones.

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